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Mission and Functions of the Office of Environmental Policy and Assistance (HS-22)

(Reports to the Office of Environmental Protection, Sustainability Support & Corporate Safety Analysis)


The Office of Environmental Policy and Assistance establishes environmental protection policy, requirements and expectations for the Department to ensure that the environment is adequately protected from hazards associated with DOE environmental risks and impacts are minimized and compliant with environmental protection laws, regulations and standards are achieved. The Office works proactively with headquarters and field offices to foster continuous improvement and shape behavior in environmental protection before incidents occur. The Office serves as a corporate technical assistance, coordination, and integration resource to support line organizations in the resolution of environmental issues and management concerns. In addition, the Office provides high-quality, customer-oriented assistance that enables improved DOE program and field implementation of environmental protection.


  • Maintains a cadre of technical experts and provides assistance to Headquarters and field organizations in the effective and efficient implementation of the Department's environmental protection requirements.
  • Identifies Department-wide environmental protection assistance needs and opportunities. Leads communication and information exchange networks to identify site-specific as well as systemic assistance needs, prioritize assistance activities, and resolve issues through direct interface with customers and stakeholders.
  • Provides leadership and partners with other HSS offices in developing integrated strategies for evaluating cross-cutting environmental protection issues with line management to determine the extent of issues, their causes, and actions needed to prevent recurrence.
  • Provides assistance to headquarters and field organizations in understanding how to implement radiation protection (DOE Order 5400.5), and environmental protection (DOE Order 450.1) requirements and related external requirements.
  • Develops and maintains Departmental policy and guidance relating to compliance with external regulations for environmental protection (e.g., Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, Pollution Prevention Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act).
  • Develops and maintains Department policy, requirements, guidance, and standards relating to environmental management systems and the integration of environmental management systems with Integrated Safety Management.
  • Develops policy and provides guidance and tools to assist in preventing pollution at DOE operations in accordance with Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, Office of Management and Budget, and Environmental Protection Agency initiatives and the requirements of DOE Order 450.1.
  • Develops policy and guidance to assist Departmental elements in the implementation of effective institutional environmental controls.
  • Consults with and provides guidance to line management in the implementation of directives and standards and other internal and external environmental requirements applicable to DOE operations.
  • Represents the Department in national and international radiation protection organizations, and on risk management and standard setting organizations, including the committee on Interagency Radiation Research and Policy Coordination, the International Committee on Radiological Protection, and the National Committee on Radiation Protection and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • Represents the Department in interagency steering committees and working groups on Federal environmental leadership initiatives, including the Interagency Environmental Leadership Workgroup, Interagency Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Advisory Group, Federal Electronics Stewardship Working Group and Federal Environmental Stewardship and Compliance Assistance Center Advisory Board.
  • Interfaces with domestic and international organizations, and tracks development and trends in new designs, construction, operating, and environmental protection standards adopted or being considered for use in both the domestic and international industries.
  • Provides technical support to DOE's Agency Environmental Executive and DOE programs and field elements in implementing and reporting on Federal "greening the government" and environmental stewardship initiatives applicable to DOE.
  • Develops and maintains Departmental guidance related to air and water quality protection and waste management.
  • Serves as the corporate assistance resource for interpretation and guidance on existing and emerging external environmental regulations on hazardous waste management and site cleanup (RCRA; CERCLA), pollution prevention and electronics stewardship, toxic chemical inventory reporting, cultural and natural resource protection (air, water, and biota), hazardous substance release response, and radiation protection.
  • Develops guidance and coordinates activities to implement DOE's natural and cultural resource management programs, including activities affecting Indian Tribal cultural resource sites and items consistent with Federal laws and regulations.
  • Supports the development of national criteria and guidelines for application in emergency planning and response to radiological terrorist incidents.
  • Develops and provides training on state-of-the art compliance and risk assessment tools to support DOE site operations, cleanup, and long-term stewardship.
  • Partners with the National Training Center in developing user-friendly training and assistance materials and tools.
  • Maintains a clearinghouse of internet-based guidance and assistance resources and tools, and lessons-learned, as a corporate resource for line management operations.
  • Partners with national and international industry groups and organizations to keep apprised of state-of-the-art practices and initiatives that could facilitate continuous improvement and excellence in line management operations.
  • Provides assistance to headquarters and field organizations on implementing Environmental Management Systems within Integrated Safety Management.
  • Provides guidance and assistance on compliance with newly promulgated Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations and with the review of proposed CAA regulations applicable to DOE operations.
  • Develops and maintains Departmental policy, requirements and expectations relating to protection of the environment from environmental hazards and risks associated with DOE operations.
  • Maintains DOE-specific policy requirements and expectations for general environmental protection. This includes policy, requirements, and guidance for safety bases and management systems for nuclear facilities and the release of property from radiological control and developing and maintaining management systems for environmental protection. Works with the Office of General Counsel to assist in the interpretation of environmental regulations.
  • Interfaces with other Federal regulatory agencies to ensure DOE environmental protection policies and standards are consistent and represent best available information and technology.
  • Interacts with internal and external entities, to maintain cognizance of best available environmental protection information and technologies and facilitates adjustments to requirements and performance expectations as appropriate.

For additional information regarding this page or feedback on its content, please contact:

Thomas Traceski, Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Assistance

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